Author Rating: A

The Society of Others (read 5/07) Recommended

The back cover description calls this a “coming of age” story but I think that does the book a disservice. This review over at Amazon explains:

Thus begins an existential journey in which the young man is challenged to use his wits for survival, in a dismal landscape during a punishing winter. This is a country in a constant state of emergency because of “terrorism”, where people mind their own business, afraid to draw the attentions of the secret police. Cast into situations that demand a great deal of courage, the young man discovers a new appreciation for his former lifestyle and the people he left behind, desperate to escape this nightmarish paranoia, fear and incipient violence. Dropped like Alice down the rabbit hole, the young man is besieged with random brutality and ignorance, as well as the unexpected generosity of those willing to offer shelter and companionship.


Much remains unexplained, though one could make certain assumptions. The dramatic ending is confusing, leaving me unsure if this is a Jacob’s ladder conundrum or a psychological crisis. I feel somewhat ambiguous about the novel, unsure if it is significant or simply entertains aspirations without quite reaching the intended metaphysical goal. It may be a quandary that only the reader can determine.